This story continues a series of short fiction exploring some of the Faerie Shepherds and Shepherdesses within my fantasy world. Read below the story for further explanation and head over to the Tales of the Faerie Shepherds if you’d like to read more!

 

Its shape loomed above her now. 

Close enough, she could feel the beat resounding from within, pulsing throughout her trembling being. Marin need only breach the hidden portal to the mountain’s inner being. Once inside, she would follow the pounding to reunite with the part of her she’d lost during her vision long past. 

 She examined the rock before her. She’d felt it, battled it before. 

A shudder rushed through her, a sudden waterfall of ice. She relived the torment, the fall, the loss. Now was her final chance; her stipulation-bound restoration. 

Her eyes scanned upward toward the top she could not spy. Eyelids shuttered, Marin reached out with her smell, her touch, her hearing. 

All interactions merged with her greater Sense within until she felt its power grow inside her soul. It rose and swelled until the glow of red surrounded her and a song drifted from between her lips. 

 

I close my eyes 

And deep within 

I feel a song arise. 

 

The earth did swell 

And reached and raised, 

Formed where my heart doth dwell. 

 

My eyes fly wide 

To quickly scale 

New-birthed mount, my own pride. 

 

Far from my chest 

I feel a tug; 

From it, I find my quest. 

 

My heart ran free 

Away it soared; 

I chased, though it did flee. 

 

The music reverberated on the air as the final notes scampered and played, chasing one another along reddish bars dancing in the wind and swirling around a still-glowing Marin. She reached out a shaky hand with all the confidence of the Called and cast her inner power into the mountain before her. 

The rocks and earth gave way at her fingers’ touch. The side of the mount glowed coal-red and vanished in a breath, and she walked forward into its depths. Down sloping paths and around narrow, descending passages, she followed the pulse that had called her for so long. Its volume and intensity grew with each and every stride. 

A faint light shimmered in the distance, urging her to hasten her steps. She reached an opening—a child-size door in an earthen wall. Marin eased her way onto her hands and knees until she could peer through. 

Her breath caught at the panorama within the mountain. She stood on the threshold of an expansive throne room, too large to see any walls or ceiling. The golden floor glimmered beneath three earth-made stairs, as lights without visible source shone all around. 

Down. 

Down. 

Down. 

One step; she withdrew. The floor sunk beneath her toes. Another test, tentative. This time, she added weight on the golden covering that felt like spongy moss, until she trusted its solidity and added a following step. She bounced along across the endless floor. Looking forward, Marin blinked then shielded her eyes from a brilliance ahead. 

After walking forever and a breath, her eyes had adjusted to the destination light. She swallowed the cool sweetness of the air around her as she stopped in stunned silence. 

Before her, Marin surveyed the purpose of her quest: a throne, massive and towering; and, hovering above it, the lightsource; the pulse-source. 

Marin’s heart. 

 

Read two previous installments relating to Marin and her Mountain:

“Heart within the Mountain”

“The Mountain That Stole a Heart”

“Heart’s Castle Entombed” Copyright © 2020 by Joy E. Rancatore. All Rights Reserved.

What do you think about this world of mine that I’m building? If you enjoyed this story, please head over to my site to read the entire Tales of the Faerie Shepherds series.

This month’s story flowed from the inspiration of a delightful monthly online writing prompt, #BlogBattle. As you will read on their site, “Blog Battle is a monthly writing prompt meant to inspire writers and entertain readers.” To read several outstanding stories inspired by March’s prompt, “Castle,” head on over to the BlogBattlers site!

You may just find a new favorite author to follow!

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